Study in Malaysia: Costs, Scholarships & Admissions 2024

18 minute read
Study in Malaysia

Having a politically stable economy and home to diverse cultures, Malaysia is a blissful mix of urban cities and rustic wildlife. Having an excellent education system that is meticulously designed to meet the needs of a multicultural society, the country has progressively emerged as one of the prominent student destinations in Asia. Home to many internationally famed institutions, it is well known for providing quality education at inexpensive costs as well as simpler visa and immigration procedures thus attracting students from across the globe. If you are gearing up to study in Malaysia, this blog will familiarize you with all the key essentials including the top universities, costs, scholarships, and visa applications for Indian students.

Happy Malaysia Day!

Every year on 16th September, Malaysia observes a public holiday and celebrates Malaysia Day which marks the establishment of the Malaysian federation in 1963. Also called Hari Malaysia, the day commemorates the coming together of the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, Singapore which was a British colony and Malaya Federation to form Malaysia. The day celebrates multiculturalism, diversity, peace, and prosperity in the country. 

This public holiday is not very old; in 2009, Prime Minister Najib Razak officially declared it a Malaysian public holiday in Parliament on 19 October! Many international observers often confuse the day with Merdeka Day, that is, the independence day celebrated on 31st August. Both are national holidays that celebrate statehood and diversity in the country. These are a significant part of the Malaysian heritage and culture.

Why Study in Malaysia?

Every year, the land of Islands attracts a plethora of international students from around the world who want to pursue their higher education here! Many compelling reasons might convince you to study in Malaysia and we have explored some of the prominent ones below:

Top-Notch Universities

The academic institutions in Malaysia are generally classified into public and private tertiary education institutions and are internationally acclaimed for their prospective programs and excellent learning methodologies. Further, the government has invested massively into the education sector to bring it amongst the prominent ones in Asia and many global universities have branched into the country such as Newcastle University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Reading, etc. 
The higher education institutions provide English-taught courses for those aspiring to study in Malaysia and are especially known for their twinning programmes which allow the students to study in Malaysia for a few years and then conclude the latter part in another country. 

Multicultural Environment

To study in Malaysia is to experience a multicultural hub of diverse cultures and ethnicities! Blending the Malay, Indian, and Indigenous tribes as well as Chinese cultures, the country lives up to its tagline of “Truly Asia”! It has embraced different cultures of Asia and warmly welcomes international students from across the globe. While pursuing your education here, you can avail yourself the chance to immerse in this incredible environment, meet people from different cultures, learn a new language and so much more!

Affordable Tuition Fees & Living Costs

Affordability is a key factor that entices students across the world to study in Malaysia. With Kuala Lumpur featured at #29 amongst the most affordable and economical ones in the QS Student Cities Rankings 2019, one can be relieved about taking care of different costs as the cost of living is quite inexpensive and the tuition fee is also within the economical range. As per the Malaysian Ministry of Education’s portal, you can expect the tuition fees of pre-university to post-graduate programmes somewhere between the range of 2,16,000 INR to 7,18,000 INR. 

Flourishing Economy

Having a diversified economy, the country diversified after independence and since then has strived towards curtailing poverty rates as well as abridging income inequalities. It is amongst the open economies in the world to embrace globalisation and foreign trade which is what has helped it flourish immensely. So, making your decision to study in Malaysia, you will also be opening many doors to career possibilities given its thriving tourism, industrial, agricultural and medical sectors.

Beautiful Nation

Life becomes more cheerful when we stay in beautiful places. We recommend you take a break during the course so that you can reap the benefits of the beautiful landscapes of the nation. You can visit rainforests, jungles, islands, highlands, and places that only natives know. Yes, some natives know places that are not popular. Don’t just study in Malaysia, make some friends and explore the beautiful nation too.

Delicious Food

Once you walk around the streets, you will know how obsessed Malaysians are with food. International students get a chance to try out various cuisines while studying in Malaysia. You can also enjoy some of the top dishes like Roti Canai, Nasi Lemak, Mee Goreng, Milo Ais, Curry Laks, and Kopi Beng. 

Balanced Weather

The weather remains constant for 365 days. You may experience a pleasant sun every day. No, it’s not that hot as sprinkles of rain are there to balance the weather of the nation. Once the rain is over, you get more pleasant weather to hang out and chill while you study in Malaysia.

Prerequisites To Study in Malaysia

Though there is no particular age limit set for those wanting to study in Malaysia, there are certain eligibility requirements that you must fulfil to apply for a university here. These requirements will mainly depend on the course and the institution you have decided to opt for so you need to go through the course prospectus thoroughly before making your way towards the application. Moreover, some general prerequisites to study in Malaysia are as follows:

English Proficiency Test Scores

Since major academic institutions offer English-taught programs, those aspiring to study in Malaysia need to provide proof of their English proficiency. Further, the English competency of a candidate must fulfil the requirements specified by the program as approved by the Malaysia Qualifications Agency (MQA). While registering for a Visa Approval Letter, you need to provide English proficiency test scores of any of the following:

  • PTE
  • Malaysian University English Test (MUET)
  • CAE or CPE

Note: Requirements of English proficiency test scores largely depend upon the program as well as the candidature as some courses might require language proficiency and for students of English-speaking countries, the necessity for language tests might be exempted. Students are advised to review the eligibility criteria of their chosen course before applying for it.

Health Screening (Post Arrival)

Another essential thing you need to ensure that you go through a medical screening once you have arrived in Malaysia at any of the registered panel clinics or health centres of the Education Malaysia Global Services. From June 1, 2019, the immigration department exempted those who wanted to study in Malaysia to undergo a pre-arrival medical screening.

However, you will be required to attach a health declaration form alongside your Visa Approval Letter which is needed to obtain Malaysian e-visa for Indian students. If you have recently undergone any major medical treatment or on any medication, then it is better to acquire a letter from your local doctor mentioning your procedure (s) or medication so that it can be provided while opting for medical screening upon your arrival in Malaysia.

Step-By-Step Method to Get Admission in Malaysian Universities

It can be taxing trying to figure everything out so we’ve put in a step-by-step guide for you:

Step 1: Research well about the courses and programs you would want to study in Malaysia. See which ones are suitable for your career and which aren’t. 

Step 2: Now check the eligibility criteria of your universities online. Make a list of the ones that are attractive and match up with your eligibility.

Step 3: For initial approval, you have to send an email to the university of your choice representing your current qualifications. Once they approve your qualifications, you will be replied within 3-5 working days.

Step 4: Prepare the following documents to ensure convenient admission to study in Malaysia :

  • 7 passport size photographs
  • Certified copies or transcripts of the previous academic results
  • A valid passport with a year of validity
  • General medical report to prove that your health is normal
  • Certifications in IELTS, TOEFL or C1 Advanced 
  • Application form

Step 5: Once you get approved, you will receive the following acceptance package from the university: 

  • Student’s Copy
  • Office Copy
  • Accommodation Booking Form
  • Acceptance Letter
  • Payment Advice Form
  • Arrival Services Form 
  • Course Fee Refund Policy

Step 6: Once you receive the above package, submit it to the Malaysian Immigration Department to get a student visa. This process may take up to 6 weeks. So stay relaxed for a while. 

Step 7: After the approval of your student visa request, you will get a student visa approval letter by mail from the Malaysian Immigration Department. 

Step 8: Now is the high time to approach the Malaysian Embassy or Consulate to get your Single Entry Visa. After getting a visa, arrange your flight and submit the arrival services form after the confirmation of flight details. 

Step 9: That’s it. When you arrive at the university, make sure that you settle all the finances as soon as possible and attend the required medical test at the advised medical clinic. 

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Cost of Studying In Malaysia

When it comes to education costs as well as living expenses, your decision to study in Malaysia can be quite budget-friendly. Though tuition fees might differ from one university to another, public higher education institutions are quite economical. Estimated on average, for a bachelor’s degree, you can expect 11,800$-14,000$ per year while $10,000-$12,700 for a master’s program as per the data given on the Malaysian Ministry of Education’s official portal.

Level of EducationTuition Fee (in MYR, per year)
Undergraduate Programs25,000 to 60,000
Graduate Programs30, 000 to 45,000
Diploma Programs20,000 to 30,000

Further, approximating the cost of living while making your plans to study in Malaysia, there are two options for accommodation either on-campus or off-campus. For school housing, you can expect to pay around $80-$300 while for a rented apartment, the prices can go around $100-$700 and for a condominium, the rent comes to approximately $150-$2000.

On the other hand, your chosen city will also impact the total costs to study in Malaysia as Kuala Lumpur can prove to be slightly more expensive than a smaller town. Health insurance is also incremental for international students and for this, you can take help from your chosen academic institution to find the best policies. Also, foreign students are allowed to work part-time for 20 hours a week only during semester break and festive holidays but your student pass must indicate that you have been permitted to work while studying in Malaysia.

Scholarships for Indians to Study in Malaysia

Almost all academic institutions, as well as the national government, provide financial aid schemes for International students aspiring to study in Malaysia. Once you have set your mind on a course, you can explore different universities and their prospective scholarship programmes. To help you in your research, we have listed down some of the major scholarships that you must consider to study in Malaysia:

ProviderScholarships to Study in Malaysia
University of Nottingham (Malaysia Campus)-Developing Solutions Masters Programme
-University of Nottingham High Achievers Scholarship in Malaysia (Undergraduate Programmes)
Malaysian GovernmentMalaysia International Scholarships (MIS) (Postgraduate & Postdoctoral Studies)
Monash UniversityMonash University High Achiever Award (Undergraduate Programmes)
Asia Pacific University of Technology & InnovationAsia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation Scholarship (Undergraduate, Postgraduate & Foundation Programmes)
Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK)Yayasan KLK Undergraduate Scholarship at Malaysian Institutions of Higher Learning (Undergraduate Programmes)
Heriot-Watt UniversityHeriot-Watt-Velesto Petroleum Engineering Scholarship for International Students in Malaysia (Undergraduate Programmes)
Nagao Natural Environment Foundation (NEF)Nagao Natural Environment Foundation Research Grant Programme for Asia-Pacific Region (Training and Certificate Programmes)
Heriot-Watt University,MBA Partial Fee Scholarships at Heriot-Watt University in Malaysia (MBA Programmes)
A3 Education and TrainingFoundation Diploma Scholarships in Malaysia(Diploma Programmes)

Malaysia Intake Sessions

The intake period at Malaysian Universities is when a student completes his/her enrollment, before the commencement of classes. While the application deadlines to study in the country differ, the major intake seasons are similar which are as mentioned as follows:

February Intake Timeline:

  • To get admission in February, students need to begin their research on universities around May or June.
  • Applications close by October and universities respond by November.

July Intake Timeline:

  • To get admission in July, students need to begin their research on universities by November-December.
  • Applications close by March and universities respond by April.

October Intake Timeline:

  • To get admission in October, students need to begin their research on universities by February-March.
  • Applications close by June and universities respond by July.

Visa Procedure

Let’s understand the procedure for obtaining a visa to study in Malaysia through the following five steps:

Applying for Student Visa

To begin with, you need to first initiate your visa application either by yourself or through your university. Make sure that your candidature fits the specified prerequisites indicated by the institution. Afterwards, your application will be sent by the university to the Director of the Pass & Permit Division of Malaysia. Also, the applicant’s passport is required to be valid for more than one year unless it is rejected.

Also, for this application stage to get the visa to study in Malaysia, you need to provide the following documents:

  • Copy of Passport
  • Acceptance/Offer Letter from the university
  • Health Declaration Form (available on the Malaysian immigration website here)
  • Academic certificates and transcripts
  • Personal Bond (to be filled by the university on behalf of the candidate)
  • No-objection Certificate
  • English Proficiency Scores (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, CPE, CAE and MUET)

Getting a Visa Application Letter

Once your application gets approval from the immigration department of Malaysia, you will be provided with an Electronic (VAL) Visa Application Letter. It is incremental that you keep a printed and soft copy of your Visa Application Letter throughout the process. To move to the next stage, the authorities will require another 14 days and applicants can track the status of their application on the official website.

Obtaining a Student E-Visa

For Indian students to get a visa to study in Malaysia, obtaining a visa application letter is not the end of the road. Now, you need to apply for an e-visa which will take approximately 48 hours to process after which you can head to Malaysia where you will be provided with a student pass and i-Kad (explained in detail in the next step).

Travelling to Malaysia & Visiting Your University

Landing in Malaysia, you will be asked to provide your Visa Application Letter (VAL) along with an e-visa and relevant paperwork (immigration-related) at the checkpoint. Then, you can head towards your institution to check your accommodation and also don’t forget to register at the university’s international student office to notify them about your arrival. Also, you need to go for a medical screening at an EMGS-registered (panel) clinic within 7 days after arriving in Malaysia. Keep in mind that all of these things need to be accomplished within a month.

Acquiring A Student Pass & i-Kad

The final step of the procedure is to visit the immigration office in your city and obtain the Student Pass as well as i-Kad (foreign national identity card) once your documents get verified there. i-Kad is an identity card for those coming to study in Malaysia or for any other purposes are staying in the country and it is generally issued alongside a student pass. From then onwards, you don’t need to carry a passport or student pass anywhere as your i-Kad will work as your proof of identification and study.

We have done some digging to uncover the top 5 courses: 

Psychology – Recently, there has been a surge in the number of Malaysian students enquiring about undergraduate and postgraduate courses in psychology. It is usually a multidisciplinary course involving biology, medicine, chemistry, physics, etc, and has a great number of applications related to real-world processes.

Computing and IT – The Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects have been the centre of demand and focus over the past few years, especially with the increasing influence of technology in all fields of work. Hence, the scope of computers and IT has thus been on the rise.

Accounting and Finance – The accounting and finance degree prepares graduates to excel in the business world as they will gain the knowledge and technical skills needed to analyze business problems from a financial point of view and also learn to communicate and use financial information to support business decisions. 

Building and Architecture – The Building and Architecture fields deal with the planning, design, and erection of large complexes, structures, systems, landscape planning, and environments. The field lies at the heart of the development of the environment we live in. 

Environmental Science – An environmental design degree equips you with the scientific background and the key skills necessary for roles in a range of careers including policy, conservation, and sustainability. 

Top Universities to Study in Malaysia

Back in the day, studying in Malaysia wasn’t as popular as studying in Singapore or Hong Kong. Now the universities of Malaysia have made their place on the list of the top 200 world-class educational institutions. The credit for the success of universities goes to the Malaysian government’s enforcement and legislation. Take a look at the following table lists the top-ranked universities and academic institutions to study in Malaysia as per QS World Universities Rankings 2024:

UniversitiesGlobal Rank 2024
University of Malaya=65
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)801-850
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia=159
Universiti Utara Malaysia=538
Universiti Putra Malaysia158
Universiti Sains Malaysia=137
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia188
Universiti Teknologi Petronas=307
Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN)761-770
Universiti Malaysia Perlis1001-1200
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)1001-1200
Multimedia University1001-1200
Universiti Teknologi MARA555

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

YouTube: UTAR Division of Programme Promotion

Starting as a not-for-profit organisation in 2002 to provide quality education at economic costs, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman has two campuses in Kuala Lumpur and is constituted of nine faculties, 3 academic centres and 32 research centres. It offers a plethora of programs including bachelor’s, foundation, double degrees, master’s, English language programmes, public training, professional qualification, and corporate training as well as short-term courses in Business and Finance, Arts and Social Studies, Extension Studies, Chinese Studies, Science, IT and Communication Technology, Engineering and Green Technology, to name a few.

Universiti Sains Malaysia

YouTube: USMtv

Founded as the second university in Malaysia in 1969, the Universiti Sains Malaysia is spread across 17 dedicated research centres working on different specialisations such as medicine and dentistry, science and technology, policy research, molecular medicine, archaeology, Islamic development and management studies and international studies. It offers an array of programmes at bachelor’s and master’s level in the domains of Social Science, Humanities, Medical and Health Sciences, Applied Sciences, Natural Sciences, Building Sciences and Technology, etc.

University of Malaya

YouTube: Universiti Malaya

Established in 1905 primarily as the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore, the University of Malaya got its present name when it merged with Raffles College in 1928. Currently, it comprises a total of 12 faculties namely, Education, Dentistry, Engineering, Medicine, Sciences, Arts & Social Sciences, amongst others and offers varied foundation, associate, diploma, executive learning, bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes to those aspiring to study in Malaysia. It has also partnered with numerous academic institutions around the globe and has prominent links with France, the USA, Australia and Japan.

University of Science, Malaysia


As the name suggests, the university specializes in science and is one of the best to study in Malaysia. The university was established 50 years ago. Today, it has three main campuses in the following regions:

  • Island of Penang (Main campus)
  • Nibong Tebal (An Engineering campus)
  • Kelantan (Health Campus)

The university aims to bring the best out of their students. They want them to know their “why”. You won’t be disappointed here. In fact, by the end of your course, you will end up knowing so much about your purpose in life. Now, you may ask “How can a science university coach us about self-growth or matters related to practical life?”. That’s what is different here. You’re not only going to study academics, but you’re also going to study yourself too. If we check the list of its alumni, we will find out some of the most influential scientific brains. 

National University of Malaysia

Generally, they call it UKM or Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. It’s a non-profit university in the southern region of Kuala Lumpur which was formed 49 years ago. Currently, it has more than 23,000 students enrolled. Out of these 23,000 students, 1300 are international students who belong to 35 nationalities. It is accredited by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education making it an even more desirable university for international students to study in Malaysia. At present, the university is committed to staying one step ahead of society and time regarding matters of development, dynamic learning, and moral society. 

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

YouTube: UTM

This is the innovative entrepreneurial research university of Technology and Engineering. It is located in the capital of the nation, Kuala Lumpur. Internationals often call this university UTM or the University of Technology. So don’t get confused with various names. For engineering, the faculty has been divided into Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical and Biomedical departments. Apart from this, the faculties are further classified into Pure Sciences, Education, Management and Human Resources Development. At present, the university is committed to achieving mastery in the development of science & technology and human resources. 

Top 10 Part-Time Jobs for Local and International Students

Enlisted are the jobs you can do side by side while pursuing your course in Malaysia: 

Job Job LevelReward
Home TutorDifficultyRM 40 per hour
Event StaffMediumRM 20 per hour
Food Service StaffEasyRM 6 per hour
FreelancerDifficultyRM 25 – 50 per hour
Direct SalesDifficulty RM0 – RM50 per hour
PhotographerMediumRM50 per hour
Retail Store AssistantEasy RM 7 – 10 per hour
Cafe BaristaEasyRM 7 – 10 per hour
PromoterEasyRM 7 – 10 per hour
Youtuber Difficulty RM0 – RM50 per hour

Language and Cities

Malaysia’s official language is Bahasa Melayu Malaysia, but English is also a recognized language in the country.

The majority of courses will be taught in English at both public and private universities. If English is not your first language, you may be required to demonstrate that your language skills will meet the teaching standards. If they do not, institutions frequently offer English proficiency courses to assist you in improving.

Even if you are taking an English course, it is always suggested that you try to learn some Malaysian. Communicating with locals and other students is a great approach to practice and can help you learn faster. This is a valuable skill to have on your CV/resume!

Some of the top student cities in Malaysia include:

  • Kuala Lumpur – Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital, with a population of 1.79 million people. The city is Malaysia’s cultural, financial, and economic centre, as well as the official residence of the country’s King. Kuala Lumpur is currently a relatively modern metropolis, boasting the world’s largest twin towers, the Petronas Twin Towers. The Universiti Malaya is located in the city and is one of the oldest and highest-ranked universities in the country.
  • Penang – Penang is also in Peninsular Malaysia. Penang is divided into two major areas: Penang Island and Seberang Perai. Its capital, George Town, was founded by the British in the late 1700s and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is enough to make the area a popular tourist attraction. Universiti Sains Malaysia, one of the country’s oldest educational institutions, is also located here. Furthermore, Penang is home to a variety of medical schools and colleges.
  • Johor Bahru– Johor Bahru, as one of the country’s key commercial hubs, is also one of the fastest expanding cities. Tourists from neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia visit frequently. Its retail establishments and shopping malls, like those in Kuala Lumpur, attract visitors from all across the region. The University of Southampton, Raffles University, and Newcastle University are all located in Johor Bahru.

Future Scope

With the globe entering a digital era, the labour sector has undergone tremendous changes in recent years, and Malaysia is no exception. As a result, students must choose their courses with great care, taking into account employment and job prospects in the industry.

According to the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs Report,” over 75 million employment are predicted to go by 2022, but nearly 133 million new opportunities are expected to arise. The Malaysian youth unemployment rate of roughly 10.9% reflects the fact that, even though the government creates an unending number of new work possibilities every year, the mismatch between student qualifications and job profile criteria fails to be satisfied.

IT & Computer Science, Engineering, Data Science, Architecture, Hospitality, Accounting, and Business Administration are among the degrees predicted to have high demand and raise salaries in the next years. It was noteworthy to observe that, while engineering graduates received a pay increase of more than 12% in comparison to other graduates in Malaysia, data science graduates were among the highest paid in the country, with starting salaries ranging from 4,000 to 8,000 MYR per month.


Q1. How much does it cost to study in Malaysia?

Ans. On average, for a bachelor’s degree, you can expect 11,800$-14,000$ per year while $10,000-$12,700 for a master’s program as per the data given on the Malaysian Ministry of Education’s official portal.

Q2. Is Malaysia good for study?

Ans. Malaysia is an upcoming study-abroad destination to study in 2024-25. It is cost-effective and offers excellent work opportunities for international students.

Q3. Is Malaysia cheap to study?

Ans. Yes, Malaysia is one of the cheapest countries to study in the world. It costs around 3 lakh to 7 lakhs on average to study in the country.

Q4. Can I study in Malaysia for free?

Ans. Malaysia has some of the most affordable universities in the world. They have low tuition fees, scholarships, and grants to international students.

Related Reads:

Universities in Malaysia: Rankings & Offered CoursesMBA in Malaysia for Indian Students: Cost, Requirements
Malaysia Student Visa: Application, FeesList of Top Scholarships In Malaysia
MBBS in Malaysia [2024 Guide for Indian Students]List of UK Universities in Malaysia: Study in Malaysia 2024

Malaysia is a unique and cost-effective study-abroad destination for international students. If you want to study abroad for under 20 lakhs then reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu on 1800 572 000 and kickstart the application process to get you the entry ticket to your chosen institution in the land of Islands!

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